Costs: Tariffs OK, Minimum Wage OMG!

As we have seen all along…President Trump’s tariff driven trade war is creating havoc around the country. Small businesses are paying higher costs for essential raw supplies. Farmers have lost overseas markets for their agricultural products and are going out of business in record numbers. Consumers will start seeing price hikes in goods this fall following the latest rounds of new tariffs and hikes in existing tariffs. We’ll see more small businesses evaporate right before our eyes.

But the word from the White House and GOP legislators. We have to tough it out to insure we get the concessions we need.

But then we have a number of proposals to raise the minimum wage at both the federal level and here in Wisconsin. Minimum wage levels that haven’t changed since 2009 yet all of us realize it costs more to live here in Wisconsin now than it did 10 years ago…and even then $7.25 wasn’t a living wage.

Many of the various proposals would increment the minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $15.00 some time in the future. The minimum wage increase that Governor Evers proposed with his budget would have moved the minimum to $10.50 by 2023. A proposal stripped from the budget by the Republicans who control both houses of the legislature.

Incremental increases would allow businesses to adjust their prices in steps to absorb the wage changes…a very conservative approach…but Wisconsin does need to get their living wage to parity with a living wage.

But oh my goodness…raising the minimum wage too high (what exactly is that amount) will result in job losses. But those with the raises will spend more and that will create more jobs…and if we can’t afford to pay a living wage now in this supposedly robust economy with full employment…when can we?

So tighten your belts consumers…tariffs are going to cost you some money ($600 to $1000 a year for a family of four depending on who you listen to)…and maybe your job. But we can’t pay you more cause it might raise prices…and cost you your job…despite the fact that productivity is on the rise and unemployment is at an all time low.

btw: what happened to all of that paycheck prosperity we were supposed to see from the Trump tax cuts?


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